After dinner, Matt will provide an introduction to the week and an overview of Lake County as a wine making region. The wines of Lake County were well known prior to Prohibition, outnumbering those of Napa. During Prohibition the abundant and fruitful vineyards were replaced with pear and walnut orchards. Learn how Lake County, with its unique climate, soils and elevation, combined with the spirit of passionate growers and winemakers, is re-emerging as a major wine growing region. One hundred acres of vineyards in 1965 have blossomed to 8,800 today, now boasting over 30 commercial wineries.
Later this evening, Bernie Butcher will give an overview of the history of this scenic area. As owner of the charming and historic Tallman Hotel, built in the 1890’s, he will discuss the restoration of this gem amongst country hotels.Lodging: Tallman HotelMeals Included: Dinner
Although just geographically north of famous Napa, Lake County is a dramatic step back in time. Here you find the pristine natural beauty of mountainous terrain dotted with vineyards, the cleanest air in California, and the beauty of the largest lake within California state boundaries. Here you are captivated by the spirit of the vineyard owners and winemakers who delight to share their passion, their stories and their insights with you on a personal basis.
Led by Matt Hughes, our study leader and a well-known local winemaker, begin with a study of “Viticulture and the Differing Appellations of Lake County.” Accompanying Matt is Peter Molnar, partner in Obsidian Ridge Vineyards and Chairman of the Lake County Winegrape Commission. Learn about the natural elements that create the best wine growing areas as we set the foundation for our upcoming experiences. Lake County is unique in its diversity, with wine grapes grown from lake level at 1400 feet to elevations over 3000 feet and from highly volcanic soils to the rich loam of the old lake bed.
Lake County Wineries website: www.lakecountywineries.org/
Lunch: At the hotelAfternoon: Depart for Shannon Ridge Ranch above the town of Clearlake Oaks to see an example of grapes grown at high elevations and in volcanic soils. Guided by our expert, learn how light quality, elevation and swings in temperature provide unique conditions for wine production, bringing about an intensity and yet balance to area wines, distinct in their individuality. Then sample and savor Shannon Ridge’s wines at their tasting room in Clearlake Oaks.
Travel to Ceago Vinegarden, a majestic biodynamic Farm. Touted by Sunset Magazine and New York Times articles, explore this beautiful lakefront facility. From the vantage point of its beautiful Spanish-style hacienda, capture the unspoiled vistas of vineyards, valleys and mountains. Learn about their proactive approach to farming that looks at the individuality of each property and adds back with natural plant and animal life to emulate nature and create a self-sustainable environment. Savor some of their unique blends.
Ceago Vinegarden website: www.ceago.com/
Shannon Ridge website: www.shannonridge.com/
Dinner: Buffet dinner at the hotelEvening: Get to know your fellow enthusiasts relaxing over dinner, or go next door to the Blue Wing Saloon and Café to tap your toes to a local Blues Band, a regular Monday night event.Lodging: Tallman HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Head out then to Steele Winery where their winemaker will introduce us to their process and the individuality of their wines. Get your own hands right into it, as we process grapes using a punch press. Sample their wines and view the intricate bottling process.
Steele Wines website: www.steelewines.com/Lunch: Box lunch at beautiful Steele WineryAfternoon: Depart for the nearby town of Kelseyville, which features the tasting rooms for local wines from Wildhurst Vineyards and Rosa D'Oro. Stop by the artisan glass-blowing shop of Jay Buechier or Blue Flame Glass.
Following the Kelseyville visit, travel a short distance to Chacewater Wine and Olive Company for a taste of their wines and the wide variety of olive oils pressed on site.
Head back to Upper Lake to Lake County Wine Studio which features wines from area wineries that do not have their own wine tasting room. Discuss and sample!
Rosa D'Oro Wines website: www.rosadorowine.com
Wildhurst Wines website: www.wildhurst.com
Chacewater Wines and Olive Mill website: chacewaterwine.com
Lake County Wine Studio website: lakecountywinestudio.com/
Dinner: On the veranda of the Blue Wing Saloon and Café next door to our hotel.Evening: Relax after a busy day or enjoy time with your new friends after our late dinner.Lodging: Tallman HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Travel next to Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards, a 5,000 acre ranch, located in the picturesque rolling hills dotted with oak trees in the remote southern end of Lake County. Our study leader, and Six Sigma winemaker, will discuss how to blend wines. Get right into the action as you individually practice blending wine. Stop a minute though to savor their award-winning Spanish-style wine, Tempranillo.
Brassfield Estate website: www.brassfieldestate.com/
Six Sigma website: www.sixsigmaranch.com/
Lunch: Box lunch at beautiful Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards.Afternoon: Depart for Gregory Graham Vineyard in Lower Lake and meet with Greg Graham, for 20 years the master winemaker at Rombauer Estate in Napa and now dean of Lake County winemakers.
Then end your visit across the street at Vigilance Vineyards, owned by Clay Shannon, with it's marvelous views of vineyards and the lake in the distance. The perfect place for a farewell photo op.
Gregory Graham website: www.ggwines.com
Vigilance Vineyards website: www.vigilancewinery.com
Dinner: Enjoy a gourmet 3-course dinner as we round out the program tonight at the hotel.Evening: Share highlights of your adventure in this evening’s wrap up session.Lodging: Tallman HotelMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner